Trying to understand how to get to Sardinia? This post has you covered.

If you’re reading this, it means that you are wondering what is the best way to get to Sardinia from Italy or Europe. That’s great news! That means that you’re in the planning phase of your trip to Sardinia, and I am over the moon for you and your upcoming Sardinian adventures! The Italian island of Sardinia is not just where I was born; it’s a major source of love and pride for me.

Since you’re gearing up for your trip, I’m here to help you plan how to get to Sardinia. As a local, and a fellow traveler, I have taken every mode of transportation under the sun to get back home after gallivanting around Europe. Let’s get right to the good stuff— the flights and ferries to get you to Sardinia! The beaches, mountains, and wineries are waiting for you here.

Background On Sardinia

For a little background, Sardinia is the second-biggest island in the Mediterranean, following Sicily, which is the largest. Sardinia is approximately 162 miles in length and sits 116 miles from the coast of mainland Italy.

There are two only ways of getting to Sardinia: by air or by sea. Flying is significantly faster, not to mention also cheaper – though granted, traveling by ferry gives you the opportunity of bringing your own car, which is a great commodity when traveling around the island.

Now, without further ado, continue reading to discover how to get to Sardinia.

How to get to Sardinia
Cagliari is a common port of entry to get to Sardinia

How To Get To Sardinia By Air: Flights To Sardinia

By far, the easiest way to travel to Sardinia is by plane. It’s the most convenient and the fastest. There are three airports to fly into on the island – Cagliari, Alghero, and Olbia. For reference, Cagliari is the capital city of Sardinia and lies to the south, Olbia services the world-renowned Costa Smeralda region in the northeast, and Alghero Airport is located in the northwest – you can also take a look at the map I have posted at the end of the post for reference.

The good news is that airports in Sardinian cities are actually close to the city they serve, and a quick bus, train or taxi ride will take you straight to the center of town.

Most domestic flights to Sardinia come from Rome. Other domestic flights that route from mainland Italy to Sardinia include Milan, Bari, Catania, Palermo, Pisa, Turin, Bologna, Naples, Venice, and Verona.

If you’re looking to fly from other cities in Europe, most major airports fly to Sardinia as well, including cities like Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Munich, Basel and Paris – but you may want to look at the secondary airports where budget airlines go. KLM has direct flights from Amsterdam to Cagliari.

The main airline companies that fly direct to Sardinia are Alitalia, KLM, Lufthansa, and AirBerlin.

If you are planning to fly, note that the high season for tourism in Sardinia is the summer. Although Sardinia is obviously connected to the rest of Italy and Europe year round, there are more flights between the months of June through September. Also, it’s important to know that some budget flights only operate from May through October.

Budget flights to Sardinia

Low cost airline companies that fly to Sardinia – some year round, others just seasonally include Easyjet, Eurowings, Volotea, WizzAir and RyanAir. The cheapest international flights are usually from London and Barcelona or Madrid.

GOOD TO KNOW: Budget flights often depart at impossible hours, forcing you to get a taxi or rent a car to the airport, or to sleep close to the airport for a night. Although they are meant to be budget friendly, they aren’t quite so during peak season – summer, Christmas and Easter. Just as well, they aren’t cheap if you add things such as luggage. Fly off season and carry-on only and you are bound to score a great deal.

how to get to Sardinia
From Olbia Airport you can reach La Maddalena archipelago

Olbia Airport

Olbia Airport (Olbia Costa Smeralda, airport code OLB) is in the northeast of Sardinia, close to Costa Smeralda. This is the best airport to fly to if you wish to visit the northeast of the island – places like Santa Teresa di Gallura, Budoni, San Teodoro, La Maddalena Archipelago and obviously Costa Smeralda.

The main airline companies flying direct to Olbia are Alitalia, AirBerlin and Lufthansa. Easyjet is the best choice for a budget flight to Olbia.

Direct flights to Olbia can originate in lots of different European cities, including Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam, London, and Manchester. Additionally, most major airports in France, Germany, and Italy — around ten different cities in each of the three aforementioned countries!

How to get from Olbia Airport to the city

You can get to Olbia city center from the airport by bus or taxi. Buses 2 and 10 depart every 10 to 20 minutes and take you into town in around 10 minutes – you can get tickets on the bus for €1.50 or at the information desk inside the terminal. Taxis from the airport to the city charge about €15.

If you are traveling to Costa Smeralda or other places, you will want to rent a car directly at the airport.

Alghero Airport

Alghero Airport (Fertilia, airport code AHO) sits in the northwest of Sardinia.

Flights are mainly operated by Alitalia, and budget airlines include Ryanair, Easyjet, and Wizz Air.

Direct flights to Alghero can be found from Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, and Manchester. There are no direct flights from France, and only three German cities— Berlin, Frankfurt, and Menninger— offer direct flights from Germany. Again, most major airports in Italy provide direct flights to Alghero Airport.

How to get from Fertilia Airport to Alghero town center

The airport is connected to the city by a direct bus and by taxi. Taxi rides are in the range of €25.

Bus rides are available from 5:00 am to 10:30 pm and take around 30 minutes to get to the city center. Tickets cost €1 if bought at the terminal and €1.50 if bought directly on the bus.

how to get to Sardinia
From Cagliari airport, you can reach the beaches of Southern Sardinia

Cagliari Airport

Cagliari Airport (code CAG, known as Cagliari Elmas) is in the capital city of Sardinia, which lies to the south of the island. This really is the main airport on the island and serves up to 3 million passengers each year. It serves southern Sardinia and is the airport you should use if you intend to explore the southern part of the region.

Usually, the majority of flights to Sardinia land in Cagliari. Alitalia has the greatest number of flights – usually direct to Rome or Milan and from there to a variety of other destination in Italy / Europe and the rest of the world; as well as less frequent direct flights to other cities in Italy. Direct flights to Rome last just under 50 minutes. Flights to Milan last about 70 minutes. There also are direct flights to Milan Malpensa MPX airport.

The following airlines operate flights to Cagliari: British Airways, Alitalia, Air France, Delta Airlines, Iberian, and Lufthansa. Budget airlines that offer flights to the Cagliari Airport include Ryanair, Eurowings, and Ryanair.

Direct flights from Cagliari Airport include Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Geneva, Zurich, and Berne. The airports in France that service the Cagliari Airport are Paris, Nice, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon, and Nantes – keep in mind these cities are all served by budget airlines. Most major cities in Italy and Germany provide direct flights to Cagliari Airport.

How to get from Cagliari Airport to the center of Cagliari

Cagliari Airport is easily connected to the center of town – Piazza Matteotti Train Station – via a direct train – it takes about 7 minutes to get there and a one-way ticket costs €1.30 and can be bought in the arrival hall and at the station, as well as online. Trains operate from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm, with departures every 20 minutes.

You will also find an abundance of taxis outside the arrivals terminal. They take between 10 and 15 minutes to get to the city center, depending on the area and on the time of day. Taxis operate on a flat rate system, and cost between €17 and €20 depending on the time of day and on the area where you are going.

Finally, you can get to Cagliari city center by bus. ARST operates bus 160 to the center of Cagliari (Piazza Matteotti central bus station) just once a day at 11:45 pm, after trains stop riding – it will wait for the last flight to land before departing. During the day, you can count on buses 501 and 747, but there are very few rides during the day. Tickets cost €1.30.

How To Get To Sardinia From Outside Of Europe

Don’t break your head trying to figure out how to get to Sardinia from North America: there are no direct flights, so you will have to fly to Rome, Milan, or a major European hub like Amsterdam to catch a connecting flight.

Flights to Rome and Milan are available from all main cities in the United States such as New York, Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles and are operated by – among others – Alitalia, Delta, and American Airlines. There also are daily flights from Toronto with Alitalia and AirCanada, as well as from Montreal.

You won’t find direct flights from Australia or New Zealand to Sardinia, so you will have to break your journey in multiple legs – usually via Hong Kong or Singapore, then via Rome or Milan where you can catch a connection to Sardinia.

how to get to Sardinia
The ferry may be a good solution to get to Sardinia

How To Get To Sardinia By Sea: Ferries To Sardinia

If your travel schedule allows for it, taking the ferry is definitely a good option to get to Sardinia. Best of all, if you’re driving from Italy, you can bring your car along for the ride! What’s better than having your own personal vehicle at your disposal to explore the island with complete freedom?

Ferries to Sardinia are available from mainland Italy, Sicily, Spain and France.

Where are the ports in Sardinia?

So, I’ve already covered that you can take a ferry to Sardinia from Italy, France, and Spain. However, where can you actually take a ferry to within Sardinia? Luckily, there are plenty of options!

Ferry Ports in the North are Olbia, Porto Torres, and Golfo Aranci. The ferry port on the east coast is Arbatax, which is connected to Civitavecchia. Lastly, Cagliari is the arrival port in the south.

There also is a ferry port in Santa Teresa di Gallura which connects Sardinia to Corsica.

Map of Sardinia

Ferries from Italy to Sardinia

Ferries to Sardinia are available year round but run most frequently during the tourist high season between June and September – that’s when they will also be most crowded, not to mention expensive!

The main companies operating from mainland Italy to Sardinia are Tirrenia, Grimaldi Lines, Moby, Grandi Navi Veloci and Sardinia Ferries / Corsica Ferries.

Ferries depart from Civitavecchia (about 50 miles from Rome), with connections to Olbia, Arbatax and Cagliari; Genoa, with connections to Porto Torres and Olbia; Livorno and Piombino, with connections to Olbia and Golfo Aranci; Naples and Palermo, both with connections to Cagliari.

Most ferry services from Italy are overnight and – depending on the route – can take anything between 7.5 and 15 hours, so you have the option of getting your own cabin for the duration of the trip, go to bed almost as soon as the ferry departs and wake up in Sardinia.

Ferries from France and Spain

Ferries also travel to Sardinia from France and Spain. The ports in France are Toulon and Marseille and you can also travel from Ajaccio and Bastia, in Corsica. The most popular routes are from Marseille to Porto Torres, which takes around 10 hours and is operated by La Méridionale; and from Nice to Golfo Aranci, which is operated by Sardinia Ferries and take up to 13 hours.

The only port in Spain that services Sardinia is Barcelona; the ferry operates from Barcelona to Porto Torres on Grimaldi Lines. The journey takes just under 12 hours.

Traveling from the UK to Sardinia by car + ferry

First of all, I don’t really recommend that you drive all the way from the UK to Marseille or Nice to take the ferry to Sardinia – it’s a long journey and if you want to do it in a healthy way, you will have to break it down in a couple of stages and it will end up being quite costly. To the cost of gas, ferry tickets, hotels, food etc you will also have to add the cost of the many toll roads you need to take in France!

Final Thoughts On How To Get To Sardinia

I hope this post has brought some clarity on how to get to Sardinia.

I wish you safe travels on your journey to Sardinia. No matter which route you take, you’ll feel right at home as soon as you set foot on Sardinian soil. Luckily, there are great routes from most major European cities, and lightning-fast flights from Italy, too. However, if you’re able to take the ferry, I hope it’s smooth sailing for you, as it’s always been for me!

Safe travels! Bon voyage! Buon viaggio!

Further readings about Sardinia

Make sure to check out my other posts about Sardinia:

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Discover how to get to Sardinia - via @c_tavani